Walker Zimmerman In Training 190411 IMG

News & Notes From Training: The Little Details

You should always try to look at the bigger picture.

That’s not LAFC-related. It’s just some free advice.

However, if one were to take said advice at this particular moment in LAFC’s season, one might find a particularly pleasing image.

Thus far this season, LAFC is top of the Supporters' Shield standings with 16 points. The Black & Gold lead the league with 19 goals - an MLS record through six matches - and a +14 goal differential. Carlos Vela was just named Player of the Month for March. Diego Rossi named Player of the Week for Week 6. And in addition to making history with the first back-to-back hat tricks in consecutive away matches in MLS, the duo of Vela and Rossi have more goals combined (13) than every other team in the league.

But this article isn’t about the bigger picture, so much as it is about those countless details that make it up. Because it’s the little details that you don’t see every day that are the pixels of this current grand LAFC image.

Take one particular play in the match against DC United:

The second goal of the match was undoubtedly a lesson in precision attacking in transition and a great team goal. But pull out just one fraction of the play. An unwise minute detail to some, Mark-Anthony Kaye's turn out of pressure and pass to Latif Blessing is an example of the little details coming together to pay off for LAFC.

With multiple D.C. United players closing him, Kaye's close control and confidence in that moment breaks United's first wave of pressure and sets LAFC off to the races. Asked the following week about the turn, with defenders closing him down, facing his own goal, and in a pivotal moment, Kaye simply said it was something he's worked on after numerous training sessions with assistant coach Mike Sorber. So, in that moment, Kaye knew he had that type of turn in him despite the pressure from the opposition.

"When you look at the best players in the midfield, the body orientation, the way they receive, their ability to be fluid and efficient... we try to help all our midfielders understand those things," Bob Bradley said after training this week. "Those would be things that as you go through the week [of training] are always touched on in different ways.

"When we break training up at the end, Kenny [Arena] does specific work with the defenders. Mike [Sorber] does specific work with the midfielders. And Ante [Razov] does specific work with the attackers. Those are the times that we can brush up on some of the little fundamentals."

Kaye is an example of these little details adding up this week, but there are almost countless other examples since the start of the season. And even on this particular play - Zimmerman's cutting out of the first pass and immediately finding a teammate, the one-touch passing, the recognition of when to attack after breaking an opponent's counterpress, Rossi's strong and purposeful run at the heart of the defense, Vela's placement of an early ball into a dangerous area... the list goes on.

It's easy to get carried away by the big moments in this sport. They're usually so pivotal to the final score of matches. And so easy to spot.

But the little details, sometimes the ones you don't see, are what bring the bigger picture into focus.

News & Notes

  • LAFC is off to the third-best start in MLS history through six matches with 16 points. Only two teams in league history have started a season with a perfect 18 from 18 points.
  • Rodolfo Zelaya is continuing to progress in his fitness, according to LAFC EVP & GM John Thorrington. "We knew coming in that [Zelaya] was a bit behind of the group on the account of an existing injury. He worked really hard to rehab, and then, unfortunately, had a setback just as he was getting nearer to full fitness. He's now working his way back again. We're going to be cautious with him because it's a long season and we want to make sure he is right before we start utilizing him. But we're certainly very excited to get him back into the group in the weeks to come. He offers us something different in and around the box with his creativity and his ability to score goals."